Expression maps

Expression maps tell Dorico Pro how to use appropriately the patches and sounds in the VST instruments that you have loaded into your project.

Expressing a range of dynamics on instruments means changing the volume and attack of notes. Because the strength of attack changes the character of the start of sounds as well as their volume, loud sounds often require stronger attacks and quiet sounds often require softer attacks.

Different patches and instruments have different approaches to changing dynamics and volume in playback. For example, some patches only change the velocity whereas others use a controller in combination with changing the velocity.

Dorico Pro also uses expression maps to specify the playing techniques that are supported by each patch in your project. For example, string instruments such as the violin have different techniques, because they can play arco, pizzicato, and col legno, and their bow position can be anywhere between sul ponticello and sul tasto.

Dorico Pro supports the following ways of sending information to VST instruments:

  • Key switches

  • Controllers


Program changes are not currently supported.

In addition to the HALion Symphonic Orchestra expression maps, there are the following expression maps in Dorico Pro:

  • CC11 Dynamics

    Uses MIDI controller 11 to play dynamics.


    This only applies to instruments that can change their dynamic while notes are sounding, such as violin or flute.

  • Default

    Uses note velocity to control dynamic volume.

  • Modulation Wheel Dynamics

    Uses a modulation wheel to control the dynamic volume.

  • Transpose down 1 octave

    Used by some instrument patches that sound an octave higher than written so that they can be played without needing a full range keyboard.

  • Transpose up 1 octave

    Allows the bottom octave of keyboards to be used for key switches instead of notes, but is also used by some bass instrument patches that sound an octave lower than written so that they can be played without needing a full range keyboard.

You can edit, create, and import/export expression maps in the Expression Maps dialog.